It's About Them

Young People … Our Greatest Resource

Put Down Your Tray; Do Something Kind

After 33+ years of working with young people, I’m convinced completely that youngsters learn most from what they see their elders do. Obviously, that can be positive or negative. We live in a world that has plenty of both.

While flying to Phoenix a month or so ago, I witnessed kindness expressed at 36,000 feet. A woman and her husband were sitting a couple of seats in front of me. I could only see the back of her head and a little of her face when she turned, but I would put her age at late 50s or early 60s.

The flight attendant was coming up the aisle with a tray. She spoke to the woman and, from her facial response, heard some bad news. In a gesture of support she carressed the lady passenger’s head and whispered to her. At this point the passenger became tearful. The flight attendant quickly placed her tray in the aisle and used both arms to soothe and support the lady passenger.

 I was touched by this scene.  I might not be totally accurate, but here’s a scenario that is probably close to the truth. The lady passenger’s mother lived in Phoenix and passed away. She and her husband were going there to arrange the funeral and settle her mother’s affairs.

I’m sure the flight attendant had no specific plan to do what she did. She planned on doing something else at that moment, but that plan temporarily went to the floor with her tray. She was spontaneous and had her priorities straight. America West didn’t necessarily hire her for those qualities, but certainly got them as a bonus.

Truth is, she can work wherever she wants.

There will be those times when we should put down the tray and do something kind.

James Sutton, Psychologist



February 25, 2007 - Posted by | Counselors, Educators, family, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem


  1. Doc,
    Thanks for sharing this excellent story. Many times, I know, I wished that I had “put the tray down”. I have learned in the past few years to do that more and more often. You never know what that simple little act will do for someone!


    Comment by tobeme | February 27, 2007 | Reply

  2. Wow this was a wonderful story! Sometimes it’s easy to forget to set down the tray. We tend to get so focused on our goals that we can easily lose sight of our priorities. This was a lovely reminder to us all!


    Comment by Desiree | February 28, 2007 | Reply

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